October 3, 2009

Livestrong 10-2.jpg


Even though this post is a day late, I think it’s appropriate to talk about yesterday, anyway. I’m going to try and encapsulate the whole day and the meaning behind it as best I can.

10/2/1996 was the day that Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer and his life changed.  Now for those of you who dislike Lance, you are entitled to dislike the man, but you  need to look beyond the competitive cycling aspect of his life and view the symbol that he has become to the cancer community.  He has a become an icon of hope, positive thinking, and most importantly a proactive style of battling cancer.  Lance’s tranformation into this being began on 10/2 with his diagnosis, but at the same time it began a monumental push for cancer to become a national and an international priority.  10/2, also, has become a rallying point for others to follow, not necessarily to recognize Lance, but a day to focus energies and efforts for government leaders to recognize the mass impact that cancer has.   

10/2, also, represents a key moment in every cancer patient’s life.  It has the potential to be their best and worst day.  For some that day is a beginning to accomplish the tasks they have never dreamed to attempt, to say the things that they never thought to say, and to fight like they never knew they were capable of fighting.  For those that survive their personal diagnosis day, becomes a celebration of life, a second birthday. 

However, the personal diagnosis date could be the worst day, because it might symbolize an end that is unexpected, undesired and often unfair. For those left behind that day becomes a day of remembrance, a painful moment that can’t be erased, a painful reminder of a presence that can’t be filled, an ever-existing void. For me I look at the personal diagnosis day as a rallying point to reinforce my own drive to help others, but still I sometimes can’t escape, my own feelings of anger, frustration and isolation.  It is a struggle and it must be and will be overcome.

Yesterday, however, was an interesting mix for me personally. Professionally, it was Lee Denim Breast Cancer Awareness day, so I was proudly sporting my jeans in support of “Saving the Ta-Ta’s” and wearing a yellow button-down shirt in support of “LiveSTRONG” day! Personally, I was struggling with the above emotions, because a dear friend of mine received wonderful news that her parent was having success fighting a very scary form of cancer. I am thrilled for both of them, but it tangles that nice web of emotions where I simply feel alone with what has taken place. I don’t want anyone to lose anyone, but it is very isolating to hear about all the positive news for others.  It just solidifies the inequity in the disease and how unfair the results are. The feeling of loneliness is sometimes overwhelming in fact, I can feel it fill my throat, it makes it hard to breathe.  Those feelings are what make it important for me and others to throw our support behind causes like LiveStrong Day to gain national attention and eliminate these feelings for others. 


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